« PreviousContinue »
by the tower and the tomb to read a few records of their former greatness, and in the melancholy yet truthful strains of the poet to exclaim :
• Out upon Time! who for ever will leave
It may be interesting to add, that the name of Browne is not derived, as believed, from the colour brown, but boasts of a much higher origin : it is now well understood to be taken from the name of an office or position of dig. nity allied to chieftainship, which in a Scandinavian form is known as “brân," or "brin," and which was, with the numerous tribes of the north-west of Europe, the title of the chieftain or head of the clan. From this may possibly have come the French Brun, from which we get easily enough Brown and Browne.
“The family of Browne was no doubt derived from the Normans; for on the Roll of Battle Abbey, amongst others, occurs the name of Browne. On Stow's “auncient Role," which he received from “Master Thomas Scriven,” as containing the surnames of the “chefe noblemen and gentlemen which came into England with William the Conqueror," the name does not appear, although that of Montague occurs on both lists or rolls. The original Roll is said to
have perished in the great fire at Cowdray, whither Sir Anthony or his successors had carried it from Battle Abbey. Of all the copies of this famous deed, that of Leland, made in Henry VIII.'s reign, is generally thought to be the most reliable, as the monks, no doubt to gratify the pride of some of the great families, falsified and Frenchified names on the so-called copies they made of the Roll; but Leland copied his from the Roll itself, and states in notes to his copy
that some particular marks are the same in the original.'
The above narrative has been selected and abridged from an interesting paper contributed by Mr. George R. Wright, F.S.A., to the Journal of the British Archeological Association, 1867.
FOWARDS the middle of the sixteenth century
(1536), when London Bridge was covered with
picturesque towers and gateways, and houses of business, there occurred, in one of the latter, an incident which is probably better known and more often related than most other portions of its history. We allude to the anecdote of Edward Osborne leaping into the Thames from the window of one of the bridge houses, to rescue the daughter of Sir William Hewet, a cloth-worker, the son of Edmund Hewet of Wales, in Yorkshire. He possessed an estate of £6000 per annum, and is said to have had three sons and one daughter, Anne, to which daughter this mischance happened, the father then living upon London Bridge. It happened that the maid-servant, as she was playing with the infant on the edge of the open window over the river Thames, by chance dropped her in, almost beyond expectation of her being saved; but a young gentleman named Osborne, then apprenticed to Sir William, the father, seeing the accident, leaped into the river after her boldly, and brought the child out safe, to the great joy of its parents and the admiration of the spectators. In memory of this deliverance, and in gratitude, when the child was grown to woman's estate, and asked in marriage by several persons of quality, particularly by the Earl of Shrewsbury, Sir William betrothed his daughter with a very great dowry to her deliverer, and with this emphatic declaration : Osborne saved her, and Osborne shall enjoy her.' Part of the property given her in marriage was the estate of Sir Thomas Fanshaw of Barking, in Essex ; together with several other lands in the parishes of Harthil and Wales, in Yorkshire, now in the possession of the noble family of the Duke of Leeds. Sir William Hewet was one of the eminent members of the Cloth-workers' Company, and served the office of Lord Mayor in 1539. He was buried, under a magnificent tomb, between those of Dean Colet and Sir William Cockain, in the south aisle of the old Cathedral of St. Paul.
Now the family of Osborne, whence sprung 'the gallant apprentice of London Bridge,' is one of considerable antiquity in Kent, and was early seated at Ashford in that county. So far back as the twelfth of Henry VI., John Osborne of Canterbury occurs on the list of Kentish gentry. Sir Edward Osborne, who married Sir William Hewet's daughter, served as Sheriff of London in 1575, and Lord Mayor in 1583-84, the twenty-fifth of Queen Elizabeth, when he received the honour of knighthood at Westminster. He dwelt, according to a ms. in the Herald's College, in Philpot Lane, in Sir W. Hewet's house, and was buried
in 1591 in the old church of St. Dionis Backchurch in Fenchurch Street. On the 15th of August 1675, Sir Thomas Osborne, the great-grandson of Sir Edward, was raised to the peerage by the titles of Viscount Latimer and Baron Kiveton, in the county of York, by patent from King Charles the Second. On the 27th of June in the year following he was created Earl of Danby ; on the 20th of April 1680 he was advanced to the dignity of Marquess of Caermarthen; and he became first Duke of Leeds on May the 4th, 1694. 'Ancient as is the paternal family of the noble family of Osborne,' says Sir Bernard Burke,
the illustrious houses of Conyers, D'Arcy, and Godolphin, which the present Duke of Leeds represents, and his descent through various lines of the royal House of Plantagenet, add a lustre to his Grace's coronet of which few other families can boast' (Peerage, 1865). We may here add that Sir Edward Osborne, when Lord Mayor, introduced the custom of drinking to the new Sheriff, although there is a ludicrous instance of such a ceremony in 1487.
The courageous action of Osborne at London Bridge has been commemorated in various pictures and prints. We even remember its illustration in a little book of our childhood. The Leeds family preserve the picture of Sir William Hewet, in his habit as Lord Mayor, at Kiveton House in Yorkshire to this day, valuing it at £300. Pennant describes this portrait as half-length, on board ; dress, a black gown, furred, red vest and sleeves, a gold